Photo Credit: John Sullivan

Willow Run has a deep history of innovation and was initially built by Henry Ford as an advanced aircraft manufacturing facility during World War II. It was redeveloped by General Motors in the 1950s as a powertrain plant that operated until 2010.

Riveting a center wing section for a B-24E (Liberator) bomber in the horizontal position at Ford’s big Willow Run plant.  National Archives and Records Administration, 196387.

Now, it will become the premiere national facility for mobility and advanced automotive testing and product development.

The center is uniquely positioned to accommodate the broad needs of industry and government with its capabilities to test vehicles, roads, infrastructure and communication systems, while providing room to grow and adapt as technology dictates. The site comes with a number of desirable features and structures already in place including double overpasses, a railroad crossing and a highway loop to test at sustained highway speeds. Testing can occur during all four seasons, day and night, in sun, rain, ice and snow. These elements help to create the perfect environment for testing and setting national standards for mobility technologies before vehicles and other products are deployed. The center will also serve as a development facility that will allow companies to lease space for office and research use, garages and other amenities.

The American Center for Mobility will expand the region’s business incubation and acceleration capabilities while bringing great economic opportunity to southeast Michigan and the United States.

The reactivation of the Willow Run site reinforces Michigan’s global position as the automotive leader while creating new innovations that will drive the future of mobility.

American Center for Mobility leads collaborative effort on education, workforce development with 15 Michigan colleges and universities

Newly formed ACM Academic Consortium highlights need for growing mobility industry

YPSILANTI TWP., MI, Oct. 16, 2017 — The American Center for Mobility (ACM), in partnership with 15 colleges and universities across Michigan, today announced the creation of the Academic Consortium at ACM to train the next generation of high-tech talent at the state-of-the-art connected and automated vehicle technologies (CAV) facility in Southeast Michigan.

“We are proud to partner with Michigan’s world-class academic institutions to ensure we have the top talent needed to lead this automotive and technological innovation,” said John Maddox, president & CEO of ACM. “This first-of-its kind collaboration will solidify Michigan’s place as a global hub for CAV technologies and future mobility, as well as ACM as an incubator to address the specific needs of industry to drive the future of transportation.”
In an agreement signed on Monday, ACM and the Academic Consortium will partner to create educational pathways to train and prepare students to support automated vehicle testing and implementation. The members will work together to identify workforce courses and training programs as well as recruitment opportunities, internships, co-op and work study programs for Academic Consortium students.

Gov. Rick Snyder joined ACM and academic leaders to celebrate the formation of the Academic Consortium as a major milestone in the state’s efforts to attract, retain and develop the workforce that will design and build the connected and automated vehicles of tomorrow.

“As the automotive industry continues to evolve, it’s critical for Michigan’s economy and our future that we have the best workforce possible to continue leading this reinvention,” Snyder said. “The Academic Consortium at the American Center for Mobility represents the exact convergence of talent and education necessary to keep Michigan at the forefront of the automated vehicle movement.”

Members of the Academic Consortium include: Eastern Michigan University, Grand Valley State University, Kettering University, Lawrence Technological University, Macomb Community College, Michigan State University, Michigan Technological University, Oakland University, University of Detroit Mercy, University of Michigan, University of Michigan Dearborn, Washtenaw Community College, Wayne County Community College, Wayne State University, and Western Michigan University.

About ACM
The American Center for Mobility is a non-profit testing, education and product development facility for future mobility, designed to enable safe validation and self-certification of connected and automated vehicle technology and future mobility, and to accelerate the development of voluntary standards. ACM is one of 10 U.S. DOT designated Automated Vehicle Proving Grounds in the U.S. ACM is also part of PlanetM, a collaborative that represents Michigan’s unique and vast ecosystem, connecting resources and opportunities for its consortium of members.

Made up of industry, government and academia, partners in PlanetM share the common goal of leading the development of smart solutions that will change the way people and goods are transported across all modes of transportation.

To learn more about how Michigan is leading the transportation revolution or to become a member, visit PlanetM. To learn more about ACM, visit

For more information, please contact:
Tracey L. Shavers Jr.